Watching the seven episodes of The Watcher, the Netflix thriller series created by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan – the same minds behind the platform’s hugely successful show about Jeffrey Dahmer – you are bound in a spell from which it is near impossible to escape.
The viewer does not simply enjoy the series, but becomes part of it, absorbed by its twists and turns. The fact that the whole opus is based on true events only makes it more astounding.
The Watcher follows the story of a married middle-class couple who, after moving into their dream home in suburban New Jersey, starts being harassed by letters signed by a stalker who goes by the pseudonym… well, you guessed it!
Soon enough – actually from the very first episode – the sick and destructive leitmotif permeating the show makes it almost impossible to draw away.
The Watcher does a wonderful job of maintaining a suspense that is always palpable, while dealing with a range of topical themes, such as marital difficulties, compulsive and self-destructive lying, father-daughter struggles and, perhaps the most important and creepiest of all, neighbourly relations.
Part of the enormous success of the show is its stellar cast, featuring diva Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, surprisingly at ease in an unusual dramatic role, and, my personal favourite, Hollywood legend Mia Farrow, albeit in a secondary role.
The Watcher traps the mind of the viewer, engaging it in a flurry of emotions that overwhelm both the mind and the heart.
The level of tension throughout remains sky-high, while alternating scenes of fear and terror make their way in (apparent) contrast to moments of harmony, underlined by the upper-class and snobbish setting.
The constant contrast between light and dark, good and evil, truth and lies, confuses, baffles and even angers all protagonists at different times throughout the series, giving it a psychological edge in front of which it is impossible to remain totally indifferent.